Vancouver, British Columbia
It is essential to recognize that many patients spontaneously enter trance following physical or sexual assault. In such situations, direct suggestion is helpful as follows:
1. "You did everything you could — now let me do what I can to help you."
2. "Your body is healthy and strong" (for children: "You will grow up to be a healthy, strong man/woman.")
3. "What happened is not your fault."
4. "It is a good thing that you told (someone)."
5. "You may find yourself remembering more and more details about what happened to you over the next few days. You may also dream about your experience. That is your inner mind's way of coping. Write down what you remember or tell someone."
It is important not to give inadvertent suggestions as to the identity of the assailant. Given the current legal climate, induction of hypnosis is not recommended in the emergency setting. However, it is permissible to encourage progressive muscle relaxation during physical examination or procedures (e.g., venupuncture).
Under no circumstances should patients be touched without explicit permission, as patients with a history of abuse may spontaneously dissociate or regress, especially if touch is perceived as sexual or as similar to the behavior of a past abuser.
Hypnotic Suggestions with Rape Victims
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